An American Takes The Lead in Toronto
CMCC Hires Dr. David Wickes As President.
By Brenda Duran
After 24 years, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) is gearing up for new leadership as it welcomes Dr. David J. Wickes, MA, DC this month to lead the college as its new president.
Dr. Wickes, who is succeeding Dr. Jean Moss - following her retirement on June 30 - has held various leadership positions in the past at different academic institutions.
CMCC began its search for a new president in September 2013 after Dr. Moss announced plans to step down at the end of the school year. An international search commenced and the presidential search committee, consisting of members of the CMCC Board of Governors, representatives from key stakeholders including faculty, staff, students, alumni narrowed down a highly qualified, international pool of candidates and made a recommendation to the CMCC Board of Governors who accepted the recommendation.
In his previous position as Dean, College of Chiropractic at the University of Bridgeport, Dr. Wickes was both chief administrative officer and chief academic officer, responsible for strategic planning, budget development, interaction with other colleges and associations as well as faculty and curriculum oversight. He was at the college since 2012.
At the University of Western States in Oregon he served as executive vice president and provost of for a total of seven years, from 2004 to 2011. He also held the title of executive senior vice president and provost of the National University of Health Sciences in Illinois. Dr. Wickes was at National from 1999 to 2004 where he also held a series of progressive positions including vice president of academic affairs and dean of clinics among others.
"I've been the senior campus administrator, the chief administrative officer, and chief academic officer at three different chiropractic colleges," said Dr. Wickes. "So all of those experiences have well prepared me to take over the leadership role at CMCC."
Dr. Wickes said it was initially the "world wide recognition" and "status as a premiere institution in chiropractic and a top institution in North America" was what lured him to the position.
"The opportunity to take over that institution as a leader is something I could not pass up on," said Dr. Wickes.
When asked about the task of adapting to Canadian culture, Dr. Wickes said he doesn't think the particular political and social needs of the chiropractic profession in Canada will be hard to learn as an American.
"I didn't apply as an American, I applied on the basis of my experience as a chiropractic college administrator as an academic and as a clinician and those skills and talents cross borders. So, I am not particularly concerned with the differences in politics from Illinois to Oregon to Connecticut. There is always regional variation and there is always political differences and you have to acclimatize to those relatively rapidly and that's what I am going to be spending a great deal of time when I get up to Canada in July."
Dr. Wickes said he is going to begin his leadership role by learning who the major players are, and getting a "better understanding of the chiropractic profession in Canada in that context."
"I don't consider there to be huge differences between the profession in Canada and the United States," said Dr. Wickes. "We share similar aspirations and very similar challenges on both sides of the border."
Dr. Wickes said he has trained up to 1,000 Canadian students throughout his career as professor in his previous jobs. He said he has also lectured in Canada and has "breaked bread" with Canadian leaders.
"I will be off to visit various leaders throughout Canada both in chiropractic as well as in higher education to make sure I can quickly get up to speed on some areas of concern and learn we can best collaborate on approaching challenges that we all face," said Dr. Wickes.
One of the people who will be helping Dr. Wickes as a resource is Dr. Moss who has been credited with most of CMCC's biggest advances over the years, including the building of a landmark campus in 2004, the establishment of the McMorland Family Research Chair in Mechanobiology (the only one established in an independent chiropractic institution), obtaining degree granting status for the Doctor of Chiropractic program, and then renewed consent for an unprecedented 10-year period.
Dr. Wickes acknowledged Moss' role will be a "tough one to move directly into" but he is up for the task.
"I am looking forward to both the opportunity and the challenge of working at CMCC," said Dr. Wickes.
Before establishing a set of goals, Dr. Wickes said he will meet with the governing board and explore the needs of the campus. Wickes said he is passionate about education and building teams and collaborations.
"My intention is to continue to develop collaborative relationships with other institutions that would be for both educational purposes as well as for clinical training," said Dr. Wickes.
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